Skip to content

The road towards a child's first words

The child's first words is an anxiously awaited moment in every family. When the child is ready to speak and what stages of development it goes through before achieving it, you will learn from the following lines.

A baby's brain begins to develop while it is still in its mother's womb. It is during this period that his sensory systems, which participate in the speech process, are also being prepared. Already during its intrauterine development, the baby gradually begins to

perceive sounds from the external environment, to master the intonation and pace of the speech of others. Thus, at birth, the processes of mastering speech have already started.

Specific centers in the brain are responsible for speech and speech understanding in humans. Broca's area is responsible for speech production and articulation and is in the left hemisphere. Wernicke's area is responsible for understanding and is also located in the left hemisphere of the brain. This lobe is also connected to the auditory area of the brain.

If these centers function smoothly, if the child is not diagnosed with a hearing problem, mental or other retardation, speaking should not be delayed.

Also, in order to rule out the possibility of speech delay in the first year of raising the child, we should not allow it to have a negative influence from various factors in his development.

During the first years of human development, the brain develops extremely rapidly, thousands of neural connections are created, and it reaches almost 90% of the capacity of the adult brain.

Once we hold our baby in our arms, we should know that in order to hear him say his first words at the end of his first year, it is up to us what stimuli we will present him with and how we will approach this active period of its development.

Soon after birth, the baby begins to hear thousands of words that actively circulate in the speech of adults. Constant communication between family members must necessarily include the baby, the newest member. Babies very quickly start to orient themselves in whether we address them. At the very beginning, they cannot show us that they understand us, but I assure you, the accumulation of passive vocabulary happens daily.

It is during this first year that the child accumulates a large amount of words in his vocabulary and prepares his speech apparatus for speaking.

From a very young age, children begin to communicate with their parents. The first form of communication and seeking contact with the adult is the child's cry. It is a signal of a need that the child feels. And the adult, responding to this need, shows the child that he is understood.

At around three months of age the child begins to use another form of communication - cooing. Cooing is a natural process that almost all babies go through. It represents guttural sounds that sound like K, G, X and is part of the preparation for actual speech. Studies show that cooing is an innate process, as even deaf and mute children go through it. The active cooing period is around the second/third month. It is believed that thanks to it, the child's ability to imitate the speech of adults develops. During the next two months, the process of cooing is combined with a smile, eye contact, violent movement of arms and legs - various attempts of the baby to attract the attention of the adult.

Around the sixth/seventh month the child enters the babbling stage.

Babbling is a combination of two or three syllables that have the sound of "ma-ma-ma", "mam-mam", "ta-ta-ta", "ba-ba". Many parents perceive the pronunciation of this combination of sounds and syllables as words. Note that these are not words. This is a way for the child to seek communication and make attempts to exercise his speech apparatus.

Unlike cooing, babbling is a conscious and purposeful response on the part of the child. It is important to note that a delay in the appearance of the glue is an indicator of developmental delay.

Around the eighth/ninth month, the child already understands enough and knows how to look for an object or a person with his eyes, as well as to carry out daily instructions such as - "Wave goodbye!" “Come on!” "Give me a kiss."

At nine/ten months of age the child can perform a simple task that is expressed in words. For example, "Show me the ball." "Take Fluffy." The child's understanding in this period is also supplemented by gestures/mimics/voice intonation that accompany the adults' utterances.

When the child is already ten/twelve months old, it is expected to imitate some simple two-syllable words like "mama", "papa", after the adult has pronounced them. A month or two later, after purposeful and consistent repetitions, the child has learned to use two/three short words independently. When using them, it is possible to observe situationally how the child directs his attention to the specific objects, which shows the connection between the utterance and the specific object. Gradually, the number of these words increases. Keep in mind that understanding always precedes speaking. This applies both to the acquisition of the mother tongue and to the subsequent acquisition of a foreign language.

The first year represents a preparatory stage in the child's speech development. During this period, parents can support the conversation process and should be aware that with some of their actions, they can significantly delay it. Using screen devices is an example of a negative influence on the brain and the overall cognitive development of the child. It is recommended that television, phones and tablets be postponed as long as possible. We mentioned above that the human brain develops incredibly actively during the first years of human life and that the right stimuli are also necessary for its proper functioning. Active communication, live contact with the child, singing, reading books, games - all these activities contribute to speaking in normal terms and support child development. We must always keep in mind that each child develops at an individual pace, but still be informed that each stage of development has time limits to keep an eye on.

If you observe deviations in the above periods or have your concerns regarding the speech development of your child, do not postpone the consultation with a specialist. Contact us to run diagnostics on your child and give you the best advice for his development.

Call Now Button